Labour urge US Senators to “join with us” as both question Megrahi medical evidence

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Labour’s Scottish Justice spokesman Richard Baker has suggested that US Senators and Labour should join forces as a Senate inquiry continues to look into the release of Abdelbasset Al Megrahi.

Mr Bakers calls came as Senator Robert Menendez, whose original letter sparked the Senate inquiry, called into question the integrity of the Scottish NHS doctors who examined Mr Megrahi.


Labour’s Scottish Justice spokesman Richard Baker has suggested that US Senators and Labour should join forces as a Senate inquiry continues to look into the release of Abdelasset Al Megrahi.

Mr Bakers calls came as Senator Robert Menendez, whose original letter sparked the Senate inquiry, called into question the integrity of the Scottish NHS doctors who examined Mr Megrahi.

In a BBC interview last night Mr Baker said:

“They [the US Senators] will get answers if they join with us in calling for the Scottish government to release all the medical evidence which was used by Kenny MacAskill to make the decision on Megrahi’s compassionate release.”

Labour’s leader at Holyrood, Iain Gray, has already described the medical evidence supplied by NHS doctors as “flawed”.

Mr Baker’s remarks followed on from comments made by Senator Robert Menendez who questioned the integrity of the Scottish NHS staff involved in compiling the medical report on which Kenny MacAskill based his decision.

Senator Menendez said:
“We’ll hear testimony about the reality that someone who has the ability to walk up and down a flight of stairs by themselves based upon a determination that only three months to live would not likely be able to do so.

“Instead of living three months he’s lived 13 months and counting which clearly means someone was wrong …… or worse”.

The claims from both the Labour party in Scotland and the US Senators have featured prominently on BBC Scotland with leading reporters at the corporation focusing heavily on the innuendo.

The BBC’s correspondent Raymond Buchanan in a BBC broadcast showing Megrahi’s return to Libya said:

“It was said that he was likely to die within three months, this is the moment more than a year ago Abdelbasset Al Megrahi returned home.  But does this scene also show something else; proof the Libyan wasn’t as sick as we’d been told?”

Fellow BBC Scotland correspondent Glenn Campbell has also claimed that Al Megrahi was “said to have less than three months to live” and that the fact that Megrahi has “outlived that prognosis more than four times over” has fuelled suspicion in the US about the decision to release him.

Mr Menendez and three other colleagues have made a series of sensational allegations against the Scottish government including one that the medical evidence supplied to Kenny MacAskill had been was compiled by a doctor paid for by the Libyan government – this was shown to be untrue.  The Senators also focused on BP after the Gulf oil spill and suggested that an oil deal was the reason for the release.  They have now accepted that there is no evidence that commercial considerations influenced the decision or that the Scottish government had any contact with BP.

The latest allegations against Scottish NHS doctors has been derided by the SNP’s Christine Grahame who claims that the smears are politically motivated and more about publicity ahead of the US mid-term elections than a desire to find out the truth.

Ms Grahame said:
“This is political opportunism by senators looking at elections ahead of them.  They only started to carry on and have a stushie about this when there was the BP oil spill.  It gave them something to show the American public they were doing something.”

Ms Grahame also suggested that an inquiry into the conviction of Al Megrahi would be a better use of time but that both the US and UK government’s might have reason to fear what it uncovered.  There is a growing feeling amongst many people that Al Megrahi was wrongly convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

The Scottish government have also described as “untrue” claims broadcast on the BBC that the three month prognosis had been given by a GP and not a specialist and that Al Megrahi had started chemotherapy shortly before he was released, treatment that has been claimed is unusual for someone about to die.